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Things I learned from reading the Firebox and UA-1EX manuals:

  • you only need to use the power adapter for the firebox if you’re connecting it to a 4-pin firewire port. if it’s a 6 pin, it powers itself off that. the firewire card i installed has 6-pin. nice.
  • my laptop only has a 4-pin firewire input. i’ll have to use the power adapter when using it with the laptop AND i’ll need to get some sort of 6 to 4 pin firewire adapter as the included firewire cable is 6 pin. i was not aware of this different firewire port size situation. weak.
  • the mysterious driver switch on the edirol ua-1ex switches you between normal windows drivers and ASIO drivers. neat i guess, though i’ve never had a problem with regular windows stuff working on ASIO drivers.
  • i still don’t understand what “plug-in powered” on the mic input means even though i read the description, for now i remain afraid to plug anything into there.
  • the ua-1ex actually has dipswitches on the bottom i hadn’t noticed for selecting the recording source, input monitor, kHz and sample rate. dipswitches are hardcore.

Then I tried recording with the Firebox. Here’s how that went:

  • plug my microphone into it
  • flip the phantom power on
  • check the input levels
  • looks like i have to crank the level up to the max (+30) to get a decent signal when singing into my condenser mic (MXL v67.) guh?
  • switch the XLR cable just in case this one’s flaky
  • still need to crank the input to +30 to get a decent signal
  • even cranked at +30 the preamp’s nice and quiet though. no hiss or buzz.
  • notice that if the input exceeds -6db the preamp clips. so i can’t record anything over -6db? should i even care about that? christ i hate audio, why do i bother with this
  • grab the mixer software off the cd-rom to make sure nothing’s set real low but everything’s at the max.
  • flip back over to record a test with my presonus bluetube + delta 66. doesn’t clip when i go over -6db. but does this matter, hmm.
  • test out the direct monitoring on the firebox. there’s a bit of noticeable latency when singing. i try lowering the 10ms latency in the control panel to 3ms, fixes it up nicely.
  • recording vocals at a clipping max of -6db alongside my loud projects makes it hard to monitor. input signal keeps getting lost in the mix. will i have to lower the volume of my projects to deal with the input volume? bleah.

Current Edirol UA-1EX mood: :) pleased

Current Presonus Firebox mood: :? confused and unsatisfied

The low Firebox signal is bothering me but I’m not 100% sure if it should or not. Clipping at -6db seems goofy as I always try to record with the hottest signal I possibly can so I have as much data to work with as possible. (You can always lower the volume later without audio consequences but you can’t boost what isn’t there.)

I don’t have another condenser to test it with. Maybe my mic sucks. I’ll go read some Firebox reviews and see if actual professionals have the same issues as I do.

Posted on - April 18, 2006 [at] 2:03 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

5 Comments on this post

craig on Further audio dickery
April 18, 2006 at 2:52 pm

It definitely sucks about PC laptops having almost exclusivly 4-pin firewire.. Damn sony and their iLink crap.

To make matters worse, if you get a pcmcia 6-pin firewire card, you have to plug the pcmcia card into power separately, since it doesn’t want to power external devices with the pcmcia power.

As far as your gain problem goes, I have to crank my MOTU traveler up quite a bit too.

Brad on Further audio dickery
April 18, 2006 at 3:41 pm

Damn, that’s stupid as hell about the pcmcia 6-pin cards needing external power. That kinda ruins the firewire fantasy, dragging along your extra power adapter everywhere. Lame.

ambush on Further audio dickery
April 18, 2006 at 6:06 pm

The plug-in powered is for anything that requires power and since a mic doesn’t have its own power it requires a powered input. that is why sound cards have a mic input and a line in. and why your mic is so quiet.

Michelle on Further audio dickery
August 14, 2006 at 12:23 am

Did you ever figure this out? I have a 6pin input (with the power adapter plugged in too) onto a nice Dell and am having the same problems. It’s not the firebox though. It’s clipping at -6db even when we use a small tube Preamp hooked up to the line in.

I’d appreciate your advice. :)

mike on Further audio dickery
September 7, 2006 at 8:42 pm

also having problem with low input using condenser mic and phantom power on. if you came up with a solution, please let me know!

Comments are closed on this post.